The 150 psalms are a collection of religious songs that were originally used in the Temple worship of Israel. They include hymns, prayers, thanksgiving songs and royal anthems. Many of the Psalms are credited to King David, although there may well have been many other writers and editors. For example, a number are also said to have been written by the temple singers Asaph, Heman and Ethan. (cf 1 Chronicles 15:19; 16:7; 2 Chronicles 29:30)
The Old Testament describes David as a talented musician. He was skilled at the harp, sang in public and even invented musical instruments. (1 Samuel 16:14-23; 2 Samuel 6:5; 1 Chronicles 23:5; Nehemiah 12:36) His creative abilities enabled him to channel real emotion into his songs. As Pope Benedict XVI observed: “In the Psalms we find expressed every possible human feeling set masterfully in the sight of God; joy and pain, distress and hope, fear and trepidation: here all find expression.”
This particular image of King David forms part of a larger West Window dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It’s found in the church of St Thomas of Canterbury, Fulham, which was designed by Augustus Pugin. The left side of the window includes a series of Old Testament figures prophesying the life of the Virgin, including King David. He is shown wearing a crown and holding a harp – both common symbols that served to quickly identify him. The stained glass is by the Gothic Revivalist Nathaniel Westlake and dates to 1896.
Where to find this work of art
St Thomas of Canterbury, Fulham
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